Nearly one in 10 enterprise marketers work with more than 30 different ad tech tools regularly. The rise of programmatic advertising has created additional pressure on marketers to make audience data actionable, per a white paper released Tuesday.
The white paper -- which illustrates the daunting task of handling data and technology across the marketing and media landscape -- shares insights from more than 50 executive thought leaders from advertising, marketing, media, and technology industries.
When asked to name the functions or the departments within their organization, or clients' organization, that use at least one toolset, 90.9% said digital marketing, 87.9% said analytics or business intelligence, and 72.7% media-buying for display and search, per the white paper, "Marketing Data Technology: Cutting Through the Complexity," published by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and the Winterberry Group.
Takeaways from the white paper include platform integration, data-dependency on marketing technologies, cross-channel marketing as an unrealized goal, organizational silos as a barrier to integration, and the critical nature of interoperability.
Although marketers have become more familiar with data, determining how to use the technology, where to use it, and how it should evolve over time in their respective companies represents a far more daunting challenge, per Jonathan Margulies, managing director of the Winterberry Group.
The vicious circle points to a dependence on multiple independent data toolsets that typically create significant complexity, yet foster innovation and mitigate business risks.
Marketers have moved to embrace advertising and marketing technologies during the past decade, but most efforts have gone to harnessing and deploying customer data feeds. Powering audience segmentation and predictive modeling are most common -- indexing at 4.17 on a 1-to-5 scale, with 5 indicating that respondents are "extremely" familiar with the application.
Making data actionable has become a key task. Marketers say they leverage analytics to reveal insights in order to drive segmentation and targeted marketing efforts. As data sources continue to expand, marketers expect that solutions that work to connect independent data streams from onboarding services and data management platforms will continue to take a central role.
Interestingly, marketers said they adopted the first generation of enterprise-class data technology to power programmatic marketing, primarily through open-market real-time bidding. Looking down the road, marketers acknowledge the potential of cross-channel integration, and programmatic, and expect this will be a high priority.
Some 80% of marketers said the open-market programmatic media-buying transaction represents a core focus of their data initiatives, with 61.1% and 60%, respectively, supporting connected digital advertising content optimization and private-market programmatic buying.
Less than half of marketers participating in the survey said they use data and technology for cross-channel initiatives like targeting, engagement and measurement. They say the efforts are top of mind, but added that they need to gain experience using data and sophisticated technology tools.
The whitepaper provides tips to overcome the challenges.
Seems like the tech stack could come toppling down onto marketing teams like a huge Jenga tower. To manage, a plan that starts with business goals, then cost-benefit analysis, is probably needed. Then comes the program to integrate the needed technology into the marketing operations. Bring in the right people, with clearly defined roles and responsibilities. Monitor work closely - adhere to short time periods for task completion, so the budget doesn't get out of control. Measure results for each stage, and adjust the technology adaptation program as the results are compared to original goals. Marketing isn't the first organization in the enterprise to confront this scale of change - just ask the folks in finance, HR, production, and so on.
Integrating various customer data sets is key to creating a data-driven marketing strategy. Data is just stale data until it is segmented and made actionable. Retailers should automate targeted marketing solutions using customer retention software to take the load off digital marketers.